The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Plainfield meeting touches on minority concerns with redistricting



Plainfield was the location of a little-publicized meeting this past Saturday to discuss minority concerns with the upcoming legislative redistricting that is mandated to take place after the release of the Census 2010 population numbers next month.

I am told about thirty attendees gathered at the Mohawk Lodge on West 3rd Street at 10 AM in a meeting that featured leadership from the NJ State Conference of the NAACP, the Garden State Bar Association and the NJ Black Issues Convention (see links to websites at end of post). Representatives of some statewide Latino organizations were also invited.

Though Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs was a participant, several Council members told me they were unaware of the meeting at all, and one Council member said an email notice was received from Robinson-Briggs' confidential aide Barbara James just ten minutes before the scheduled starting time of the meeting.

Assemblyman Jerry Green was also said to be in attendance, though making a late appearance, and said to offer not entirely helpful remarks with regard to Hispanics, noting that he 'likes' Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Paterson) but is suspicious of the motives of most Hispanics.


The state's legislative districts are to be redrawn by a bipartisan commission evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and with an independent tie-breaking member selected by the commissioners (or appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court if they cannot agree). That commission will have to work in haste to have its map approved in time for the April 11 filing deadline for the June primary election.

Minority voters are likely to be a bone of contention between the Republican and Democratic sides as each tries to shape the district lines to maximize the chances for 'safe' districts returning members of one or the other party on a regular basis.

PolitickerNJ, the website of all things political in New Jersey, took up the issue in a post yesterday (see here), but for the most part the public's attention has yet to focus on the matter.

While participants said the Saturday meeting was useful for bringing concerns about the fate of minority voters in the redistricting to the fore, it is not clear exactly what strategies will emerge as the process unfolds.

The email from James indicated that further meetings are scheduled for Newark (today), Jersey City (tomorrow), Glassboro on January 18th and Toms River on January 20th.

All of this takes place in the context of both the redrawing of New Jersey's Congressional districts (which will surely be contentious as we are losing one Congressional seat) and local wards and voting districts (which must also meet the April 11 deadline).

More on the implications for Plainfield of all of this later.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

How does Gerry and other African Americans in Plainfield get away with making statements about not trusting Hispanics? I heard this same type of statement out of the mouth of a past city councilman who served in the early 2000's. If the situation were reversed there would be protests, Alton Maddox, charges of rascism etc. Fair is fair - stop the racism now. It isn't your turn Gerry to do it to others. Are you afraid they will take over your empire??

Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: do we have the Census numbers yet? Did Plainfield break 50,000 on paper?

Anonymous said...

Jerry Green has made disparaging remarks about Jamaicans, Haitians, and Hispanics. Check out what he had to say at the Mayor's 'emergency' Youth Summit that coincided with the POP anti-violence demonstration a few blocks away. I think they were videotaped by that guy who wears the fur hat who may be a minister too. The meeting where Jerry got into a spitting match with Rasheed Abdul-Haqq.

Jerry doesn't stand up for minorities. He stands up for the levers that give him power. He won't even stand up for legislation he's voted for if it means disrupting one of those levers. Minorities and majorities of all stripes don't have a friend in Mr. Green.

Dan said...

Pat -- Only gross numbers for states have been released.

County, Local numbers due next month; will point folks to them when they come out.

Anonymous said...

In Jerry's defense, he doesn't know what he's talking about half the time and there is no filter, he just blabs about the first thing thats pops in his head. Some people say that racism in America is worst now than in the 60's because at least then you openly knew where people stood.
At least you know where Jerry stands! lol